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Industry blamed for ignoring emissions reduction tech

A white dump truck spews black exhaust smoke into a blue sky.
A white dump truck spews black exhaust smoke into a blue sky.

The industry not taking emissions reduction technology seriously enough, an internationally renowned engineer has warned.

Mathers Hydraulics Technology (MHT) founder Norm Mathers is fed up with mining and transport companies refusing to adopt world leading technology to reduce harmful diesel emissions that has been available in Australia for years.

“Exhaust chemical cleaning was introduced in the 2012 period, yet there was only limited industry response to reduce diesel use, despite the full knowledge that technology exists to reduce fumes which could make a monumental difference to the protection of the public, exposed workers and drivers’ health,” said Mathers, one of the world’s leading hydraulic engineers.

“It beggars the question why? Universally whenever discussions are raised on this issue, people express the opinion that they hate to think that bottom line profits are being put before workers and public health and wellbeing.”

According to a study by innovation company MHT, the technology was found to significantly reduce diesel emissions through turning engines off when idle in heavy traffic conditions.

Stop/Start technology on petrol cars has proved to be both highly effective and widely accepted in reducing emissions. However, up until now the same benefits of stop/start technology have not been available for larger diesel engines because of the need for a high-speed starter motor.

Mathers fears exposing people to high levels of diesel fumes could easily become a major occupational health hazard, exposing the industry to a flurry of public liability claims.

He claims many medical studies in the past decade show long-term exposure to diesel fumes is likely to cause cancer, dementia and other serious health issues.

The European Union Commission has responded to these warnings by demanding direct action to reduce emissions in trucks and buses by the year 2025.

The International Agency for Cancer Research has classified diesel emissions, including diesel particulates matter, as a known human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust includes inorganic particulate matter, which is largely carbon. Being inorganic, it is likely to be insoluble in the body and could affect the body in a similar manner as coal dust, which has been found to be a direct cause of black lung disease.

“There needs to be a lot more research into the association between diesel emission exposure and coal dust which causes black lung and similar diseases,” Mathers said.

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